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Artist & Broadcaster
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Television work

The Impressionists, Three-part drama series on BBC1, 2006

This series broke new ground in a number of ways; it was a kind of documentary told through drama and it was made by the BBC’s Factual Art Department, not their Drama Department. It told the story of six of the French Impressionists (including Cezanne, who was really a post-impressionist, but never mind) by showing how their lives interlinked through various documented encounters. The whole series was thoroughly researched and it was all based on fact. As often as possible it was filmed in the actual locations in France where the events depicted took place. Many extremely talented people were involved in the making of the series including some extremely good big-name actors, the producer/director Tim Dunn, the director of photography Chris King and the scriptwriter Sarah Woods. I was extremely privileged and grateful to have been included in the large team of people involved in this project.

My principle role was as a technical and historical advisor to the cast, crew and script writer, but I also appeared in various extremely brief cameos, notably in the very first scene as ‘the man on the train’ being surreptitiously sketched and caricatured by the young Monet. I also supplied the caricature of myself for this scene for Monet (played by Richard Armitage) to ‘draw’.

In addition I also supplied many canvases and oil paintings for use as working props, these were completely correct and authentic, front and back, as were all of the other period painting props I supplied.

I also coached the actors on how to look like they were actually painting, not just imparting their techniques but the artist’s likely ‘body-language’ whilst working so that the actors would be in keeping with the various painter’s recorded personalities and traits. Some actors, like Richard Armitage, actually took to painting extremely well and painted in a really convincing manner. Others were nervous of doing any real painting and so I sometimes stood in for them in their costumes for the close-ups of ‘their’ hands painting or drawing.

Many of the oil paintings I supplied were unfinished to facilitate the actors (or myself) painting key parts or stages of them on-camera. This gave the programmes a level of authenticity and veracity that I’ve never seen before in any drama about any painter.

Leo J Glover1
Leo J Glover 2
Leo R Armitage
Teaching Julian Glover to paint convincingly as Monet whilst he was ‘in civvies’ and then in role (in Monet’s actual garden in Giverny!), and me teaching Richard Armitage to paint as a younger Monet.
Leo Manet
Leo train
Leo peasant
Leo toff
Standing in for the hands of Edouard Manet sketching a dead soldier, and me as the man on the train, a peasant and a toff in my blink-and-you’ll-miss-me cameos.
Leo A Gillet
Leo W Keen

With Aden Gillet (as Edgar Degas) and Will Keen (in role as Paul Cézanne).